Title: The Name of This Book Is Secret
Author: Pseudonymous Bosch
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: October 1, 2007
AR Levels: Book Level - 5.6; Interest Level - 4th-8th grades; Points: 9.0
Goodreads Link: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/1099301.The_Name_of_This_Book_Is_Secret
In a nutshell: When two curious 11 year-olds come across a strange box full of vials with various smells and a coded notebook hidden in an underground house, they embark on an adventure to find a long-lost person, to save a classmate, and to possibly prevent unspeakable horrors from being unleashed on the world. Follow Cass and Max-Ernest on this riddle-filled thrill ride that's sure to make you laugh and exercise your brain.
I'd recommend it for grades: 5 to 8
I'd recommend it to: fans of The Mysterious Benedict Society or Adam Gidwitz's Grimm series, mystery lovers, anyone who enjoys a good riddle, Neil Gaiman fans, and Blue Balliett fans
What I liked most about this book: Told by an interactive and hilarious narrator who is constantly asking if you, as the reader, should really continue considering how dangerous he has deemed it, this book seems to be an excellent read-aloud for a 5th grade classroom. It's equally funny and clever although easier to solve and follow than Balliett's books and The Mysterious Benedict Society series. I also enjoyed the footnotes and appendix with additional information (including historical facts, magic tricks, science experiments, and more). There's something in this book for everyone, and I can't wait to read the other four books in the series!
Single favorite moment (without getting spoiler-y): I think I can safely tell you that at one point Cass and Max-Ernest find themselves in a library full of fancy old books, which the narrator describes as "a treasure trove of books, hoarded by pirate librarians." Be still my librarian heart. Also, there is a blind basset hound in this book named Sebastian, and you know how much I love basset hounds. :)
Star rating (where 5 stars is awesome and 0 stars is atrocious): 4 stars